Book Review: Indian Home Rule by MK Gandhi

Alert: Every thinker is a child of his time. Some of the concepts from this book may or may not be applicable in today’s era but it will definitely give us some rationales to think from different angles. Mr. Gandhi himself acknowledges that his ideas and way of thinking on raging issues are not infallible.

About Book:

This book is written in the form of a dialogue between the ‘Editor’ and ‘Reader’, which was written in the native language of Gandhi ji while he was traveling from London to South Africa which later translated into English. Hind Swaraj can be considered as cornerstone for Gandhian School.

It is divided into three major areas and 20 chapters which deals with number of issues like present condition of India (Before 1908), Work of Congress, education, professions like law, medical and institution like parliament and railways and pathetic social condition.      

On Education

For him the basic aim of education should be to bring our senses under our control and to help imbibe ethical behavior in our life. He attacks the newly emerged elite, a by-product of the Macaulay system of education, as they have enslaved India.

Against Brute force:

He vehemently rejects the use of brute force for attaining swaraj for India through following arguments:

  • Those who take the sword shall perish by the sword.
  • Sacrifice of self is, infinitely superior to the sacrifice of others.

Idea of passive resistance:

  • It can apply to only those who want to become passive resisters for the service of the country and they have to observe perfect chastity, adopt poverty, follow truth, and cultivate fearlessness.
  • If we keep our own house in order, only those who are fit to live in it will remain. Others will leave of their own accord.

On Doctors:

  • He also criticizes the medical profession and the rational behind is pretty interesting. We fall sick due to our own bad habits and we should be punished through those paid than we get through disease. But doctors give us medicine to relief through those pain and we follow the same habits never realizing our mistakes.

On Railways:

  • Issue of famine and fake pilgrimages has been increased due to railways. The criticism of railway and other things like post offices is also pretty extreme and he accused these institutions which helps foreign powers to keep control on India.

On Judiciary:

  • He criticizes lawyers too although he himself was a lawyer. Lawyers are professionally entitled to secure only interest of his/her client which can never resolve any matter in a reasonable manner and can lead to more fights.
  • If two brothers are fighting over any issue, any elder or person from within the community will try to resolve that fight within that house, but lawyers will take only side and prepare arguments in favor of one side only which escalates the fight more.

Note: After reading the book you may perceive the same concepts in different manner. All above opinions are from my limited reading and understanding.

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